Let’s be real about the marriage amendment
In addition to the debate over whether Indiana’s state constitution should be amended to recognize homosexual marriage, the amendment’s opponents argue that the amendment would make it illegal for private business to grant domestic partner benefits to homosexuals or to unmarried heterosexual employees.
The first thing to do, as always, is to look at the text:
Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
The critical two words here are “legal status.” That means that state government cannot recognize the union of two men or two women as a “marriage,” and that state government cannot implement policy that would have the effect of doing the same. Benefits provided by a private sector employer – or a public university, for that matter – do not constitute a “legal status” and would not be forbidden.
Now, let’s assume that the second sentence of the amendment can be interpreted to do what amendment opponents (and some proponents) fear. Does anyone think that is realistic? Does anyone actually believe that domestic partner benefits will suddenly vanish if this amendment were adopted? There would have to be a lawsuit against such benefits, which is unlikely to happen. If such a lawsuit were to be filed, the odds of success are slim to none.
We can debate whether or not this amendment is a good idea, but the debate over the marriage amendment should be grounded in reality, not in propaganda, fantasy or paranoia. Domestic partner benefits are not endangered by HJR-3. That’s a fact.
This post was tagged under: Indiana Politics